Summer—the season of skin—is fast approaching which means it’s time to invest in some forward beauty planning. If you troubleshoot your leg-worries and you’re more likely to enjoy floaty summer skirts and poolside bikini lounging without fear or dread. Our Summer Legs SOS guide has everything you need to know to get ready to bare with absolute confidence.
How to vanish spider veins
The problem: Light and small purple, blue or reddish color veins in a linear or spider’s web pattern on the skin’s surface. They are formed when excess blood builds up in the blood stream.
What’s the solution? “A common underlying cause could be hidden varicose veins so the first course of action is to book a scan,” says vascular surgeon Mark Whiteley, founder of The Whitely Clinic, one of the UK’s leading vein centres. “Microsclerotherapy is usually the best treatment with 95% of patients seeing an improvement.” After treatment you’ll need to wear compression stockings for two weeks.
Expert tip: Inflamed skin post treatment is a sign the body is removing the dead vein. This can last up to two weeks. After 12 weeks full results can be seen.
How to treat varicose veins
The problem: Aging is one factor that can cause blood pooling in veins under the skin. Varicose veins often appear large and bulky, pushing the surface of the skin outwards. Treating varicose veins can relieve aching, swelling, pain, and medical complications further down the line, so it’s not just a cosmetic procedure.
What’s the solution? The traditional treatment of physically removing veins—also known as ‘stripping’ using general anesthetic—is on its way out. According to Whitely, now 65% of US patients use laser or radiofrequency to “shrink” or seal the veins by heating the vein walls and the UK is finally following.
In a ten year study of 172 patients treated with thermoblasion, Whiteley reported 93.5% long-term success—i.e. no reopening of the vein. This is compared to stripping, which can carry up to 80% chance of the vein growing back.
Expert tip: Always seek a scan to remove any chance of guess work and to identify hidden varicose veins. Visit veinscreening.co.uk for a free vein screening questionnaire.
How to re-shape your legs
The problem: You want lovely legs but months of hibernation have left them wobbling without any definition. Time to get strength and muscle tone back quickly and safely—longer, leaner more shapely legs can be yours, we promise!
What’s the solution? When fitness expert Niki Rein, founder of barrecore in London, discovered how dancers’ bodies were sculpted it was the start of integrated dance-based conditioning techniques. “We can quickly shape beautiful legs and lift bums by using small and specific isometric movements at high repetition, which burns fat and strengthens muscles.”
Expert tip: Rein recommends following barre work with stretching which lengthens muscles creates a dancer’s svelte silhouette. Expect to see results within 8-10 sessions of barre-based exercise.
How to reduce puffy legs
The problem: Swelling of legs, feet and ankles is caused by a build-up of fluids and is known medically as edema. This could be caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy or menstruation, weight issues, high blood pressure, thyroid conditions, and more.
What’s the solution? For a DIY approach, try the following tactics: keep feet elevated, exercise regularly, and incorporate leg rotations and stretches. Try a cool bath to help reduce swelling with a product that helps draw fluids such as INA Bath Crystals (£47). Maximize results with regular body brushing from the ankles up to the knees and thighs.
Expert tip: Don’t forget your diet. “Avoid swollen legs and puffy ankles by eating a clean and lean diet that is low or free from inflammatory foods such as salt and alcohol as these can lead to swelling of the joints and water retention. You can also eat foods that are rich in omega 3-oils such as salmon as a natural anti-inflammatory,” advises Lee Mullins, Director of Personal Training at Bodyism.
How to minimize your cellulite
The problem: It doesn’t matter how much exercise you (or don’t do!) fatty dimples beneath the skin may still haunt your otherwise perfect pins. There’s still time to attack this problem and diminish cellulite from your legs, thighs, and bum.
What’s the solution? “It’s essential you massage problem areas such as thighs and hips twice a day. Use a massage tool or hold hands in a claw shape and use fingertips and thumb to work a gel or cream into skin an upwards motion for 2-3 minutes or until it’s absorbed into skin. This will really boost circulation,” says Sanctuary Spa Skincare Expert Nichola Joss. Try Sanctuary Spa 5 Day Moisture Creamy Body Oil (£6.99) or Weleda Birch Cellulite Oil (£20) for cellulite-busting goodness.
Expert tip: For extra stubborn areas grab, pinch and knead skin using all fingers and thumb or try Scholl Rolling Shiatsu Massager (£25.63) for targeted, deep kneading massage to boost circulation beneath the skin.
How to spend less time on hair removal
The problem: If your hair and skin tone mean you don’t easily qualify for laser hair removal, then summertime de-fuzzing might be another time-consuming chore. Laser treatments usually require significant contrast between hair and skin color for best results, which is why dark hair on dark skin or light/reddish hair on fair skin has traditionally been a problem.
What’s the solution? The latest treatment launch from laser experts Syneron Candela is GentleLaser, which has been shown to be effective at reducing hair growth on any skin tone and hair color. This is down to a dual wavelength laser (755nm and 1064nm) with additional settings to suit different hair types and thickness. Variable pulse duration combined with a cooling system can soothe skin and protect its surface. The shorter pulses make this a fast and extremely effective option.
Expert tip: Michaela Barker, UK General Manger of Syneron-Candela recommends a consultation and patch test before summer begins. “Each hair removal session (an average of six) are spaced six weeks apart, so the sooner you start the sooner you can enjoy the benefits. Don’t forget that exposure to the sun needs to be avoided two weeks before laser treatment; even more of a reason to get started before the summer is in full swing.
How to banish bikini bumps
The problem: If you favor epilating or waxing for hair removal you might be all too familiar with beneath-skin bumps and ingrown hairs.
What’s the solution? To banish bikini bumps this summer—and all year round—without irritation, Eau Thermale Avène Dermo-K ($27) is a clinically-proven nightly treatment to help free and prevent ingrown hairs. Dermo-K softens the skin with an emollient while also soothing irritation caused by repeated shaving and waxing.
Expert tip: For best results simply spot-treat affected areas in the evening.